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ONE WORD: Follow

Editor’s Note: This post is part of the series “ONE WORD,” a two-week long effort hosted by Self Talk the Gospel in collaboration with the good people at One Word 365. Keep track of the series here and check our daily e-mail newsletter for all posts. Don’t subscribe? Sign up!

 

Follow: “to engage in as a calling or way of life.”IMG_0064

You rarely hear the term ‘follower’ when asking a high school senior about his or her plans for the future. Parents don’t readily offer the fact that their kid is a follower when asked about their child’s greatest strengths.

The idea of ‘following’ isn’t the most exciting notion. Followers don’t typically have a reputation for having a strong sense of purpose or direction. We don’t expect to hear their clear, loud voice. Followers often seem weak and possibly apathetic. They appear a bit less motivated and a little more… simple.

In contrast, the term “leader” sort of shines. It is associated with greatness. It resonates with a life well-lived. It gives off the sense that you have somewhere to go and people to follow you there. You have a voice and something to say.

We all desire to matter, and the concept of leadership provides that sense of identity and importance. As humans, we like to feel loved and admired, and if we’re really honest, adored.

Yet, Jesus said to the disciples, and says to us today, “ Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Notice how long it took the disciples to follow. My Bible says that they IMMEDIATELY left their nets and followed him. Their nets were their livelihood. Their identity. Their security. For the disciples to immediately leave the familiar to follow One whose very command gave them a new identity and calling is a pretty powerful picture of loyalty and humility. A wild trust. It makes following seem terrifying in a mystical way. It feels like they bet the farm… or at least their little part of the sea.

 

As humans, we like to feel loved and admired, and if we’re really honest, adored.

 

What is in your net? Have you considered what it truly means to follow Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? Have you been asked to let something or someone go that was not in line with His plan for you? Have you experienced the exhilaration of reckless abandon? To being “all in” as a follower, even if that means blooming where you are planted? Even if that means dirty diapers and a sandbox? Even if that means leading others to absolute loyalty to the ultimate Leader of our souls?

When I consider my nets I see lots of personal gain in what I’m hauling around. I see lots of striving and wanting to matter. I feel the weight of my expectations, and I often don’t measure up to what I had planned as the agenda for my life. I see a lot of burlap and less sequin.

As I have pursued the idea of what it means to be a follower in the simplest sense of the word, it has meant saying to my Leader, “not my will, but yours,” while wholeheartedly entering into His direction for my life. This direction has sometimes meant “big” things, such as helping a new ministry get started or leading someone into a brand new relationship with Christ. But more often than not, it has meant being faithful in the menial tasks of the day. It means being present as I listen to my child’s day, putting down my phone and listening “with my face” as my youngest likes to demand, and it means slowing down my frenetic schedule when my husband’s ministry requires more of him and I need to create a sane environment at home. At times it has meant saying no to public roles so that I can meet needs within my family during a specific season of life.

God has gently disciplined my need to prove my worth many times. It has come in the gentle, still voice…

“You are enough just the way you are..”

“Just enter in to my rest.. abide.. sink deeply in to my presence…”

“Cease striving. Know that I am God. “

“Stop trying to prove yourself.”

“Shhhhhhhhhh.”

He beckons us to simply follow.

 

Have you experienced the exhilaration of reckless abandon?

 

For some, following means leading thousands and having lots of “followers” on social media, speaking in large venues to hundreds, representing Him, and helping others to follow Him. Some are called to write books that beckon others toward Christ and the calling He provides.

Yet to others, their faithfulness is in the simple places, behind the scenes. Maybe they influence a few. Maybe those few call her “mama.” That name denotes a mighty calling. I wish more moms felt worthy of praise as they make small daily sacrifices for those babies.

I am admonishing each of us to look to our Leader for the unique agenda He has planned for each of us and to sink in to it completely, not looking to the left or to the right. As we run our race, may we also encourage others in their journey and seek to edify each person as ENOUGH.

  1. Do you consider yourself a Follower of Christ? If yes, what are you doing to grow in your commitment to knowing Him and His voice?
  2. Do you have a clear understanding of the call He has placed on your specific life? If not, consider fasting and praying to ask for direction.
  3. When have you struggled with comparison? What are some ways to avoid this again?
  4. Are you easily impressed with others and feel the need to impress? Repent and ask God for freedom to deepen and live in freedom.
  5. Write or call 2 other people and encourage them on their specific path.

 

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Image Credit: John, Creative Commons Some changes made.


Jen Bell

About

Jen Bell is a southern girl at heart, having spent her childhood in a quiet town in Oklahoma where all that matters is the Friday night lights. She is married to Brad Bell who pastors at the Well Community Church. They have two daughters who could be called “Night” and “Day” (in no particular order) and bring them great joy even though one is on the brink of the teenage years. She has a passion for discipleship and going back to the “ancient paths” and hopes to be a woman who speaks the truth in love for the glory of God. She and her husband converted their suburban backyard into a mini farm complete with grapevines and chickens, therefore much of their free time is spent tending and cultivating the growing things.


  • Guest

    Love this piece, Jen! Think you for this challenge to FOLLOW immediately and wholeheartedly. I love the way you encourage all women to carry out their calling in Christ!

  • Dorina Gilmore

    Love this piece, Jen! Thank you for this challenge to FOLLOW immediately and wholeheartedly. I love how you intentionally encourage all women to carry out their calling in Christ!

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